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Canadian born Tim Ralston pursues skiing, scuba diving, and sailing when he’s not teaching in the classroom or enjoying an episode of his favorite sitcom, “Star Trek.” A “trekkie” at heart, Tim studied astrophysics in college.
“I went into college—The University of Waterloo—wanting to attend Dallas Seminary when I got out. However, I decided on a physics major because I wanted a degree that would be rigorous in its thinking, so I majored in the sciences—I also did it out of interest,” Tim said.
He also loves astronomy, and uses it to help teach in his classrooms.
“I use my astrophysics education in my teaching when discussing the nature of God, simply because most people have no concept of the scale of the universe, or what’s going on beyond the local planet. To at least put those numbers in front of them makes students think more concretely about God.”
Although Dr. Ralston says that the political climate in Canada is not conducive to Christianity, he grew up in a strong Christian home. He had two older sisters, one of whom led him to Christ as a child. Most of his childhood was spent in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada.
“Canada is by definition, multicultural. It seeks to preserve the identities and practices of individual cultures. It is very tolerant, hates conflict, and is very political—there’s a strong sense of social responsibility in government.”
Tim explains that the idea of tolerance in Canada is what keeps Christianity from thriving there. Christians who speak out on any issue are seen as being intolerant and expressing opinions which are supposed to be kept private.
Growing up in such a mission field, Tim began serving in ministry when he was a teenager. He provided leadership in two separate youth programs, and started preaching at the age of 17. His father recommended Dallas Seminary to him that same year, and Tim knew that God wanted him to attend.
His whole life God has led him from one step to the next. Tim likes to think of his life as containing a compass and Eurail pass.
“The compass sets the direction, which has always been in the area of vocational ministry related to the theologically sound exposition of the Bible. And the Eurail pass represents that I take whatever opportunity that is moving in the direction the compass is set in.”
Along the way, Tim met his wife in his university. They had both gone “stag” to a square dance sponsored by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and they ran into each other at the door. After one night of square dancing, they started dating soon after and were married a year and a half later.
As Tim’s four-year master’s program at Dallas Seminary came to a close, Carol found out she was pregnant. Before the end of the semester, though, they lost the baby, which hit them both very hard.
“It was the week after graduation. It was tough because all the professors and students had left campus, and it was that terrible, lonely time of transition. That was difficult.”
The couple moved back up to Canada where Tim started his first pastorate. A year and a half later, the Ralstons had baby Briana. She was premature with a fifty percent chance of living.
“We spent eleven weeks shuttling to the hospital during my first pastorate—watching our baby girl go through all the stages of neonatology. But she suffered no serious mental disabilities, which you usually expect. Praise the Lord.”
Tim kept his pastorate for five years, studying towards another degree at the same time. He soon decided that he should go back to Dallas Seminary to get his doctorate.
“Literally that first day back on campus I got a phone call from John Reed offering me a teaching assistant position. Then after nine or ten months they said, ‘ok, well, why don’t you be a part-time instructor.’ And I’ve gradually been promoted to be able to teach like I do now.”
Briana was two when they decided to move back to Texas, although Dr. Ralston claims his daughter is proudly and fiercely Canadian. She is now at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the best nursing schools in the country. The Ralstons also adopted a child named Alyssa, who is now eight years old.
Dr. Ralston’s family brings him great joy, as does his role at Dallas Seminary.
“I love helping students improve their communication skills and seeing them succeed in ministry.”
The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.